C

Charles's Story

Text size

Charles Michael Smith of Austin peacefully made his journey from this world Friday, December 29th, with his family by his side.

A gifted athlete growing up in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Mike excelled in baseball and basketball in the '50s and '60s. His talent earned him a full basketball scholarship in 1967 to the University of Texas at Austin, where he played Center, but an early knee injury shortened his time on the college court. As a UT letterman, he enjoyed attending UT home games with his family and friends until the very end.

While at UT, Mike met and fell in love with Sarah ("Sally") F. Thomas of Austin. They were married in 1970 and welcomed three children, Michelle, Lindsay and Addison. As a family, they spent their time playing sports and games, and enjoying the outdoors at their family farms in Oklahoma and Texas.

Mike began his professional career in the restaurant business, opening an A&W Root Beer Restaurant in Austin, which he later rebranded as Mike's Patio Grill (the current location of Dan's Hamburgers on Manchaca Road). Mike sold his restaurant in the late 70's to pivot into a career as a financial planner. For more than 35 years -- and most recently at the Austin branch of Oppenheimer & Co. -- he served as a wealth advisor to many clients who also counted him as a close friend and confidant.

In 1993, Mike married Deanna L. Kuykendall, a Fort Worth native. Throughout their 12-year marriage, they shared a passion for hunting quail, training English Pointers, working out, and playing golf. Mike remained friends with both of his wives for the rest of his life, which is no surprise to anyone that knew him.

Mike had a larger-than-life personality that was matched by a big heart -- one that more than exceeded his 6 foot, 8-inch frame. Among his many great loves were spending time with his children and grandson, training dogs to hunt birds, exercising, and enjoying meals and laughs with his friends and family. One family acquaintance aptly put some of his family and friend's grief into perspective: "It might be helpful to consider that what one loses at death is future experience - not past. What you have of him, you still and always will have..." Indeed, his friends and family are grateful for the time they have had with him, whether they knew him as Mike, Mikey, Michael, Stubb, Rook, Daddy, Padre, Colonel, or Papa.

Mike is preceded in death by his parents (Addison Bowling Smith and Beatrice Irene Lyon Smith) and his brother, the late Addison Bernard Smith. He is survived by his eldest daughter Michelle Smith-Polanco, her son, Charlie (named after her father, his grandfather), and her husband John Polanco, all of Austin; daughter Lindsay Smith of Austin; son Addison Smith and his husband Evan Hoyt Thompson of New York City; his sister-in-law Jane Smith of Waco; his sister Helen Tomlinson of Boise, Idaho; his sister Mary Kathryn Nahl of Portland, Oregon; and numerous nieces and nephews that he loved dearly.

A Memorial Service was held in Austin on January 5th and his burial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 20th, at Fairlawn Cemetery. Mike will be buried next to his parents and brother. In lieu of flowers, family and friends who wish to honor Mike's life may do so by making a contribution to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in recognition of his nearly seven-year battle with colon cancer.
Published on January 10, 2018
Send flowers
in memory of Charles
See more

Obituary published in

Events